On Location..

Location scouting is one of the most frustrating and rewarding aspects of being a photographer.. sometimes it seems so difficult and hopeless to find that perfect spot (who has time to just drive around aimlessly???) but when you do, it’s like hitting the jackpot.

That’s how I felt when I found THIS spot which is now my favorite place to shoot:



I did a family shoot there this past weekend that I will post about tomorrow, but for now I want to know what your favorite spot to shoot is and how did you find it?? Do you have any location scouting tips to share?

I’m kind of shy (ok a lot shy!) and am not the type of person to jump out of the car, knock on a door and ask permission to shoot on someone’s property.. though I imagine if something was breathtaking enough I’d get over it :)

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Ava says:

Oh Lauren,
I don’t know if this will help, but whenever I drive home from a shoot, I take a list of locations in the area I’m interested in scouting. That way I can do a drive by (minus kid) occasionally and get some ideas. Plus I already have my gear on me and can take some test shots too (although I’m known to just bust out my iPhone too for this purpose)

I will admit though, that I can do this because I have a super supportive partner, who 1) takes care of G while I’m out working; 2) gives me the time to do this. He’s a big part of the business and should get mad props for his patience.

Ava says:

Well, I’m purely an on-location photographer, so I have to rely on scouting and working in the homes of my clients. I agree finding the “perfect” location is challenging, and perfect varies from the type of shoot you are doing and what the client is looking for.

My favorite so far was actually down-town San Mateo (here in CA). It’s 1) close to a park that has a GORGEOUS Japanese Garden (complete w/ pavilion, bridge and little man-made river); 2) Can be urban for that “exposed brick” feel; 3) has lots of little cafes/restaurants for that “quaint day out on the town” shot too. And this is all in a .5 mile radius which is perfectly walkable even with a toddler.
I bring it up because many people don’t often think “let’s meet downtown” when that environment can offer lots of interesting options.

Otherwise, I look at a lot of local photographer blogs and try to figure out the location they were at. To return the favor, on each blog post I post where my shoot was. It helps me with future clients too that say “I liked X location. Can we go there?”

Lastly, Google earth and Images have been my friend. It gives me a good chance to look above on open spaces and photos others have taken in those locations. I, of course, do a drive-by and walk-through before I commit them to my location options list, but it’s been a good way to get a list of local places to check out.

lauren says:

I totally feel your pain about scouting locations. I have a 10 month old baby girl and find it’s hard to find the time to drive around looking for that perfect spot, on top of all the shooting, returning emails, booking, editing, etc.

I LOVE the location above and can’t wait to see the session from it! I always love finding spots where DOF can really come into play. :)